Mayors have a tough gig. They are never “off the clock” and are the mediating variables between thousands of people and the progress of their communities. So for our Relax issue this month, we slowed down Nancy Ferguson, the celebrated mayor of New Albany, to shed some light on what makes her suburb so special.
What pisses you off?
Not having enough time and resources [laughs], especially the resources to implement all the great ideas that people come to me to get done.
How great a role does a grade-school system play in a suburban community?
It’s crucial to any community that wants to elevate itself to one of the best communities in the country. You can’t be one of the best communities in the country with a mediocre school district. Because people value their families, people want to invest in their children, invest in other people’s children. They know that is what’s going to make their community excellent in the next generation.
Create an analogy to explain your position and role in a suburban mecca like New Albany?
The mayor’s job is much like a travel agent, helping to plan a trip to a high quality lifestyle and financial sustainability.
How do you envision the housing market in 5 and 10 years?
Five years, I think it will be close to being back to what it was like in 2007. And in 10 years, I think it will be even better than what it was in 2007.
What miracle have you witnessed?
Recently, I was asked to throw out the first pitch when our new Little League baseball field was dedicated. It was a strike!
What is your fondest memory growing up?
One of those would be sitting with my grandfather who was in his 80s when I was in elementary school, sitting with him in the yard listening to him tell me that I should think about becoming a lawyer. As an elementary student, that was the farthest thing from my mind. I guess the fact that I had these great relatives who believed in me even as a 12-year-old, not because I had that much to offer at the time, just because they knew that they needed to inspire me.
What do you think about a downtown casino for Columbus?
I think it’s in the right spot on the West side. I think it’s better there, and it’s going to please more of the residents.
Do you have any quirky routines or habits?
Making lists. I’m a notorious list maker. It drives my husband crazy because there will be these long lists of things on the counters in our kitchen.
What’s the best way to spend a lunch break?
Sitting under a tree at the Wexner Community Park with two friends.
What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
White water rafting in West Virginia seemed dangerous.
If you could share a conversation with anyone, alive or dead, with whom would you be speaking?
Thomas Jefferson. I’ve read maybe six or eight books about him, and I think he had that same interest in architecture and planning that I have and others around here have.